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ElenaKL

ElenaKL

Great Lakes, Arctic Canada, BWCA/Quetico

ElenaKL's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Biking
Paddling
Yoga
Skiing
Climbing

ElenaKL's Bio

Cycle Tourer, Backcountry Canoe Camper, Arctic Surveyor and Gym Climber

ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 24, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

These gloves are great for driving in cold weather, hiking in cool weather (fall and spring). These are light gloves and not bulky but they're fairly warm for the size. Don't expect to use them in the dead of winter as they won't suffice. I purchased them a year ago to use on the Inka Trail (4-day hike) and they were perfect. I love them because they're so lightweight I can throw them in my purse or jacket pockets (be careful not to lose them as I did!).

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 16, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs large

I've had these shoes for a few years and used them on multi-day paddling-camping trips. I love that the toe is protected - it's great to walk through the woods carrying a kayak or gear and not have to watch out for twigs. I also like that the sole is pretty sturdy and has "siping" (like car tires!) to increase traction on wet rocks. These features are key in the great lakes where stepping out of your boat might mean hitting a razor-sharp zebra mussel. I really want to love these shoes but for one the stitching came lose after the first few times I wore them. The second issue I have is they take a long time to dry. Wearing wet shoes around camp after a day of paddling isn't fun. They also collect a lot of water in the toe when canoeing so I usually end up taking them off in the boat. Keen only has one shoe style with drain holes in the sole - I wish more of their shoes had this feature. I wish I could say this was a great paddling shoe but I will have to continue my search. I sized-down half a size.

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I have an older version of this shoe that I bought maybe 10 years ago for travel (the sole hasn't changed at all, the upper is slightly different) and they are perfect for my feet. I have wide and flat feet with extra wide toes and these never cause me any issues. I hiked the 4-day Inka Trail with these shoes and had happy (albeit tired) feet at the end of it. I tried replacing them with an ankle-high Keen hiking boot (because people say you need ankle support with a backpack) but ended up switching back to these because they are more comfortable - even with a load. I take these travelling as my main walking shoes and to the Arctic as my around-camp shoes. I've also worn them as cycling touring shoes, paddling shoes, scrambling shoes, etc etc etc. If (not when!) they eventually die I'll definitely be getting the exact same shoes to replace them. Is there a 6 star rating??

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Unfortunately I tried these out as hiking boots and realized they weren't for me after an 8 hour hike up Algonquin in the Adirondacks. Even though I have very flat / wide feet these were apparently too flat even for me as they caused pain in my arches. On the positive side I find them to be very waterproof and durable. Instead of their intended purpose I now use them as a winter boot for walking around in slush and light snow. I will be sticking to my tried-and-true Merrels for hiking.

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size

I love the design of this jersey but the white is a little too translucent for my liking. I'll be returning mine for the dark blue version. The small is snug on me but fits (I wear an XS in street clothes - I find cycling clothes are always pretty snug).

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I wish I had had this set on my last backcountry camping trip! In order to save money we brought a mesh bag filled with various kitchen items (a great way for things to get broken by the way). After that trip I picked up this set and really appreciate how it keeps things incredibly compact and organized. I love cooking so having the options of using larger pots and a pan is great on a trip. The pots and pan are not too unwieldy for my tiny camp stove though which is nice. When I'm camping with a large group I bring the whole set and add 4 additional plastic plates to my bag which turns the set into an 8-person set (if you don't need cups and bowls at the same time). If I'm doing a 2-person trip I take out 2 of the cups (which are actually 2 cups and 2 "bowls") and stuff the empty spots with other tools. To round out the kit I add 4 small Light My Fire sporks and manage to stuff them between the cups. It's quite a tight squeeze so it would be great if the kit came with 4 custom sporks that fit inside one of the cups. I would also recommend removing the mug cozies when you store the set for long periods of time. I left mine for a few months and found some mold on one of the cozies unfortunately. I also love the color coding - it has already come in handy a number of times (is that my wine?).

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

Great tent for 2 very close friends...
5 5

I picked up this tent a few years ago and have taken it out on a BWCA/Quetico backcountry trip with a friend. We used it without the fly on clear nights and loved to be able to see the stars through the bug mesh. Having 2 doors in this tent is key so you don't have to crawl over each other to get out of the tent and each person can sit in the tent to put shoes on - definitely a sanity-saving feature. Having 2 people in the tent was doable on this trip but not ideal (especially if one person tosses and turns!) - for longer trips with the chance of bad weather (and longer time spent inside the tent!) I would opt for a 3-person tent. The vestibules on both sides of the tent help the tent feel a little larger than it is since you can keep gear / boots outside the tent and still keep them dry - the fly comes down nice and low to the ground to keep the rain out. I really like the design of the doors - each door has a single continuous zipper that is at the perfect tension so that you can unzip it with one hand. The design is nice and clean so the zipper doesn't get caught on anything either. This may seem like a weird thing to be impressed by but I was using a friends brand new tent with triangular door and the zipper became annoying very fast. I also like the simplicity of the setup design - just two poles in an X that get inserted into grommets. The poles are fairly light and strong. The tent and fly are marked with reflective tabs that you can line up easily in the dark which is another nice touch. I also like the neutral colour in case I'm doing some stealth camping. The only criticism I have is the gear loft frequently falls down because it's not taught enough. As with all tents I would size up - if you plan on sharing this tent with someone for an extended period just go for the 3-person.

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I got this bag 2 years ago and have been very impressed. The best thing about it is it compresses to an amazingly small size. I use a Sea to Summit UL compression sack which shrinks this bag to be almost as small as my summer down bag! Since it packs so small I took it on a 4-day Inka Trail trek (on top of a 3 week backpacking trip) in May and was super warm (the Inka trail can get cold at night). I also use this as an emergency sleeping bag in the summer in Arctic Canada. This bag is also breathable enough that I use it as an extra layer at home under my quilt in the winter! I am 5'4" and the small size fits me perfectly. My feet don't feel cramped but there is not a lot of extra room (with other bags that don't fit too well I have to stuff clothes in the bottom to take up the extra air space). The bag also has shoulder yolks and beefy draft tubes down the zipper for extra protection against the cold. I haven't tested it in Canadian winters but it is very toasty for spring and fall camping in Ontario and compresses small enough that you won't have to debate over taking a lighter bag and risking being cold in the shoulder seasons.

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this about a year ago for trekking the Inka trail. It's a great size for travelling with enough room for clothing, water, DLSR camera, tripod, and a sleeping bag (just use good compression sacks)! I bought the mens S/M which fit my back perfectly (at 5'4" I have a slightly long torso compared my height). The hip belt is slightly large for me (I have a 28" waist) - I have to tighten the belt all the way but it still works. If I were to buy it again I'd go with the women's M/L. What I love about this pack is it's incredibly light and it's an easy size to manipulate - I easily tossed this in overhead compartments while my friends with larger trekking bags were struggling. This bag is JUST small enough to be a carry-on so on my flight to Peru I was able to fly down without checking luggage. The only criticism I have would be there are a lot of straps hanging off it which can get stuck in conveyor belts and whatnot. I like that you can tuck the compression straps under the water bottle pouches to get those out of the way but I would love to be able to tuck away the ice pick loops (if there were 2 drain holes next to the ice pick loops that would be perfect) and other straps that aren't often in use when backpacking. Also the pocket under the lid is very small - I would widen that to be big enough for a map or other flat items. I would also put a small velcro pocket on the bottom of the pack for a rain cover. Those small changes would make a perfect pack!

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought the medium a few years ago and love it. I use it for car camping, paddling trips and cycle touring where space is not a huge concern. I typically stick this in a compression sack on top of my sleeping bag to get it super compressed. It always comes out nice and fluffy. I rarely used the built-in pocket unless I'm car camping. For UL camping I would just use a down jacket for a pillow.

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

This pillow packs super small but it doesn't work to well on it's own - it just goes flat when you use it. I wrapped my down jacket around it and that seemed to do the trick to make it at all comfortable. I wouldn't say it's a very versatile piece so for UL camping I would just use the down jacket on it's own and leave this at home.

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I love my Patagonia Down Jacket! I've had it for 4 years and still use it a lot. The interior pocket stretches to turn the whole jacket into a pouch with a loop for a biner which I usually leave attached inside the pocket even when I'm wearing it. When it's packed into the pouch it works perfectly as a pillow for backcountry camping - a great multi-use piece for UL camping. My friends with other brands of down jackets were jealous of that party-trick! This is a great active cold weather piece because I never find myself sweaty in it like I do with synthetic mid-layers. I also use it under a rain jacket for an even warmer combo. I wouldn't call this jacket very fashionable - it is rather boxy - but that's not really the point - this is an extremely functional piece for chilly trips where comfort and weight/space in your bag are of the utmost importance. I've also used this as my primary sweater when ultralight travelling. When you wash it be sure to dry it on low with tennis balls as they recommend - this gets the down back up to it's original fluffiness. I wouldn't recommend this for cold water paddling as down is not warm when wet. I do, however, put this in my dry bag during summer paddling trips to put on at the campsite when the temp drops at night. Love it!

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ElenaKL

ElenaKLwrote a review of on February 15, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I've had these for a year and used them for gym-climbing 2-3x per week. They only took about 8 hours to break in and are now extremely comfortable. They are a great beginner shoe for someone who doesn't want to be in pain after an hour of climbing or only climbs sporadically. I wear a size 8 street shoe and went for a 7.5 in these shoes which is snug and comfortable. These are not a high-performance shoe - I ended up getting a second pair of shoes (Force-X) for technical gym sessions but plan to keep these for longer outdoor climbs where comfort is key.

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